Learning Exchanges

Personalised Education Now organises an annual learning exchange.

2006 Burleigh Community College, Loughborough 2nd April

We had yet another good Learning Exchange… our may thanks to all those who attended and contributed and to Burleigh Community College, Loughborough for being our hosts. The powerpoint slides used at the meeting are available - click here for Adobe PDF version PEN Learning Exchange 2006

After a general learning exchange amongst participants as first item in the morning Philip Toogood talked about his research project on independent learning in a London Secondary School.

He was able to flag up the huge impact of the school ‘machine’ which puts enormous hurdles in the way of independent learning. Philip painted a picture of dedicated, hard working staff attempting to surmount the organizational, contextual, environmental and cultural constraints. He was able to draw upon his vast experience as an educator for signposts as to what could happen to change and deconstruct this machine and to provide space for independent learning.

  1. In Cambridgeshire as Warden of Swavesey Village College he had explored the ideas of Henry Morris and his Village College concept.
  2. At Telford as Head of Madeley Court Comprehensive he developed the theory and practice of Mini-schooling to break up large schools into small human-scale learning communities.
  3. At the Small School Hartland he co-ordinated a movement to become known as the Human Scale Education organization. The three main planks of Human Scale Education were: Small Schools – both the preservation of those in existence as well the development of new ones, Mini-schooling to humanise large schools, Flexischooling to link the human scale structures of schools with home-educating families in genuine home-school partnerships.
  4. At Dame Catherine’s School at Ticknall, Derbyshire he opened an independent, all ages school and secured a base for the development of flexi-schooling.
  5. In Burton on Trent he later developed a flexi-college and explored the ideas further with older learners
  6. Philip left recommendations in his report for TIME, TERRIITORY, TEAM, THINGS, and THINKING and also developed specific ideas for independent learning. PLAN –IT – LEARNING is a systematic self assessment toolkit that supports planning, doing and reviewing.

You can contact Philip Toogood at philipannabel@toogood4u.fsnet.co.uk

During the afternoon we were treated to a presentation from Mark Webster – ‘Finding Voices Making Choices: Personalised Education and Community Arts’ This presentation available in Adobe PDF Click here for PDF version Finding Voices Making Choices, M.Webster

Mark talked of ways Community Arts Projects support opportunities for personalised learning in communities. At PEN we take our understandings from all forms of learning and life and we have developed our principles on this basis. The work of community arts projects and of informal community educators has much to teach us. Often working with the most disadvantaged, disengaged and challenged communities learning succeeds in ways in which the mainstream offer cannot compete. Mark’s input helped us appreciate an approach to learning:

  1. Everybody is valued
  2. Learning process
  3. Concrete owned results
  4. Sustained collective process that supports individual pathways for learning

This whole area deserves more investigation and PEN will continue to develop its own work alongside community and informal educators. Learn more about Mark Webster’s work in Finding voices, making choices. Creativity for Social Change. Edited by Mark Webster and Glen Buglass. Educational Heretics Press, ISBN 1-900219-29-8.

Mark Webster, Senior Lecturer, Creative Communities Unit, Faculty of Arts, Media and Design, Staffordshire University. m.webster@staffs.ac.uk

You can also get to learn more about the principles of informal education in the excellent Informal Education by Tony Jeffs and Mark Smith, Educational Heretics Press, ISBN 1-900219-22-0. Find details via Educational Heretics Press

2005 Burleigh Community College, Loughborough 17th April

The focus was on one of the issues that Personalised Education Now needs to address ie. A Personalised Learning Practitioner Development Scheme. Following the discussion the Trustees have gone ahead with the scheme and details appear on this website Personalised Practitioner Scheme. Feedback from members is welcomed. The Learning Exchange, yet again, provided a supportive environment for members to meet and discuss concerns and issues… as usual we did not have enough time but everyone values and appreciates the ‘energy boost’ these exchanges permit. The powerpoint slides used at the meeting are available in Adobe PDF Click here for PDF version

Click here for Directions to Burleigh Community College http://www.burleigh.org.uk/information/directions

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